Ok first off, for anyone curious, I substituted this week’s encounter with the Twig Blights. The reasons are manifold, but namely that gawd I hate twig blights, and the encounter seemed random and unimportant. For that reason, I decided to look back to encounter 4 or 5 (which we missed due to my late start this season) and found the bridge encounter be more inspiring. Its triage out here man, for the best encounters possible, and culling the twig blights for some plague spell mayhem felt more epic and connected to the 0overall story.
In addition, I changed the party start position to be the back edge on the bridge – really trapped, not that weak sauce start position the module recommends. Next, I made it so the party was surprised, and the monsters got a free action except for those who got above 20 initiative. (Heh, I have to maintain my reputation for evil, don’t I?) And the final piece of the puzzle was a slight change to one of the monsters, from a lame-o plaguechanged wretch with nothing but a similar melee claw attack as the 3 brute allies, into a ninga-jedi who fired a plaguechanged hand-cannon. (pronounced neen-ga for copyright issues. Jedi is fine though.)
These jedi were hidden in doorwells and one hand glowed white hot and shot out bolts of cold-flame. Each character hit ended up with their face either frozen with ice or blackened by flame. They are Ninga! They actually ended up pretty lame anyway, though to great hilarity and suspenseful action. One of them was riddled with no fewer than 3 magic missile holes in his forehead (making a smoking slot) and finally when he was ultimately destroyed the top of his head exploded into a volcanic eruption of brains that rained down on everyone for moments afterward.
The other one was in a personal duel with the eladrin sword mage. New player wanted an eladrin sword mage, but the best I could do was an eladrin mage – with a sword! He had an encounter long duel one on one with a ninga-jedi and was down to 1 hp at one point, but never fell. As his finishing move, he used his teleport to appear next to the ninga and then stab him with his sword. Sadly he missed, but I told him that the ninga screamed like a little girl when he appeared and wet himself. The next wizard finished him and sent him flying backwards into the river, and the ninga’s last words were that at least no one would notice his wet pants.
Meanwhile everyone refused to leave the bridge by any other means than jumping into the fould smelling black and oily river with jagged rocks just below the surface. Sounds exciting don’t it? Well we all expected Quinaro to dive into the river, but whn the illusionist Suldin, did a cannonball, everyone was surprised. The wizard had just finished doing 0 damage on a hit while stabbing with is obsidian dagger (1d4-1 ya thats right he did 0 damage, though I ruled it was minimum 1 after describing the frail mage’s weak chicken arms stabbing stabbing stabbing and leaving not but tiny red marks on the plaguespawn’s back. One of the ninga saw his action and said “Surely this is a mighty wizard who is so powerful that he can afford to forgo his mighty spells and stab with his puny blade” thereupon hitting him with his hand cannon.He had little choice but to dive off the bridge after that fiasco.
Then the ever tactical minded Belgos did a bellyflop into the river and it was anarchy. He actually landed on an enemy and impaled him on the sharp rocks, transferring the falling damage to the plaguespawn and impaling him on the rocks, which he then rode like a boogy board for awhile. It was at this point a crowd started peaking around nearby corners shouting things like “Hey look its that new adventuring group in town, the Bellyfloppers!”
There was so much more that happened. Like the magic missile that chased a ninga all the way up a drain pipe, across a roof and down the other side before hitting him, there was the cat One Whisker who sheathed his claws in the head of a plaguespawn, and a statue that got chipped to pieces every time the ninga’s hand cannon missed Berrian the eladrin mage with a sword. Etc.
End time 8:02, mission success.
Addendum. My wife says I play to the crowd. Tonight’s average player age: 12.5